Location: Near Benton, PA Map: https://www.dcnr.pa.gov/StateParks/FindAPark/RickettsGlenStatePark/Pages/Hiking.aspx Know Before You Go: Parts of this trail are rock-covered and can become slick when wet, which happens a lot. There is limited cell reception in this park, but the trails are well-marked. Check with the park website before hiking as sometimes rock collapses cause trail closures. This is a very popular trail so parking at the trailheads may be scarce, and there are no bathrooms along the often-crowded trail. Length: 7.2 miles loop (we hiked out and back with a spur because of a trail closure) Time: A little over 4 hours. DifficultyLevel: Moderate to challenging. Terrain: Stone, dirt, steep steps. Dog-friendly:Yes. Dogs must be kept on a leash and physically-controlled at all times. Kid-friendly: Yes.
With 22 waterfalls, rugged stone, and a lush, scenic deciduous forest, the Falls Trail System at Ricketts Glen State Park is one of my all-time favorite trails. We hiked the Falls Trail to the Highland Trail intersection then doubled back to hike the Falls Trail spur that heads north at Waters Meet until we hit a trail closure due to a rock collapse. Despite the closure, we were still able to see 19 of the park’s waterfalls. These are serious waterfalls, ranging in length from 13 feet to 94 feet, and all gorgeous. You hike more than 1300 feet in elevation changes.
We parked at the Evergreen Parking and Glens Lot Trailhead Parking. The beginning of the trail is relatively flat and on aggregate/dirt path, taking you along a pretty creek. Your first waterfall is less than a mile in, and as you climb up to the top of the ridge, it seems there is a more beautiful waterfall around each corner.
The hike can be steep and a little dangerous when the rocks get wet with waterfall spray or recent rains. It’s also a little harrowing to step aside for traffic in some places. I can see why this trail is so well-used, however - it’s one of the prettiest we hiked and certainly the prettiest we saw in Pennsylvania.
This land was once owned by a retired Civil War Colonel, Robert Ricketts, who fought for the Army of the Potomac and led Battery F during the Battle of Gettysburg. He was a member of the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society and cut the original trails, naming many of the waterfalls after American Indian tribes in the northeast United States. His descendants eventually sold the land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Many of the huge old trees along this trail are over 300 years old and tower over 100 feet in height. Glens Natural Area, which the Falls Trail System traverses, became a registered National Natural Landmark in 1969.